The Republic of Singapore Navy's (RSN) first Independence-class littoral mission vessel (LMV), RSS Independence, has been successfully commissioned into service at Changi Naval Base.

The commissioning was officiated by Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, and certifies the vessel as fully operational.

RSS Independence is now ready to join the rest of the RSN fleet, and will be deployed by the navy to carry out a wide range of operations to protect Singapore's waters, as well as safeguard its sea lines of communication and contribute to overall peace and security across the region.

The new LMV has been designed and constructed locally, and was jointly conceived by the Singapore Navy and the country’s Defence Science and Technology Agency.

The faster and more mission-flexible ship features enhanced sea-keeping capabilities and increased endurance, and can be manned with fewer crew members than previous vessels.

Highlighting the importance and historic value of the name of RSS Independence, Loong said: “It is a significant and historic name; significant, because protecting Singapore's independence has always been a core mission of the RSN.

"Historic, because the name ‘Independence’ carries the legacy and spirit of the RSN pioneers starting from the first RSS Independence, the patrol craft, which played a key role during the Laju ferry hijacking in 1974.”

"It is a significant and historic name, because protecting Singapore's independence has always been a core mission of the RSN."

The LMVs will possess lethal and non-lethal options to provide the RSN with calibrated responses to deter and defend against several threats.

The vessels are equipped with advanced radars and sensors, and their bridges provide a 360° out-of-window view, which allow them to have an all-round visual awareness of their immediate surroundings in congested waters.

RSS Independence was first launched by the RSN at Singapore Technologies Marine’s (ST Marine) Benoi shipyard in July 2015.

The navy’s eight new Independence-class LMVs are expected to be fully operational by 2020, and are set to replace the existing Fearless-class patrol ships.

Image: Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (centre), Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean (centre, left) and Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen (centre, right), together with the crew members of RSS Independence. Photo: courtesy of MINDEF / Government of Singapore.